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Virgin Atlantic shake-up: Edinburgh to Barbados dropped, daily Cape Town flights return

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Virgin Atlantic has quietly dropped its flights from Edinburgh to Barbados after just a few months of operation.

The route started in December 2021. It was due to run until the end of the Winter season in March 2022 but was pulled early. The airline has now cancelled the route entirely.

If you are booked to travel on Virgin Atlantic from Edinburgh to Barbados this Winter, you will be rerouted via Manchester or offered a refund.

Cape Town

The other Edinburgh route flown by Virgin Atlantic – to Orlando – is continuing. It isn’t clear what this means for Virgin Atlantic’s strategy in Scotland, with flights from Glasgow cancelled in 2021 in favour of the high-profile switch to Edinburgh.

Cape Town returns

In more positive news, Virgin Atlantic will be relaunching daily flights from London Heathrow to Cape Town on 5th November.

It is scheduled to run until the end of March, using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This does not offer the latest generation of Upper Class suite – our last review of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class on a Boeing 787 is here. Rhys is due to fly this seat to Austin in a couple of weeks so an updated review will follow.

The daily year-round service to Johannesburg will continue.

Other Virgin Atlantic schedule changes

Aeroroutes notes a number of other schedule changes which were made last weekend. These are for the Winter season which kicks in from the end of October and are based on what was previously planned for the Winter:

Antigua – increased from 3 to 4 weekly
Bridgetown – increased from 8 to 10 weekly
Los Angeles – reduced from 3 to 2 daily
Montego Bay increased from 2 to 3 weekly from mid December, with an increase from 2 to 4 weekly on the additional indirect service via Nassau
New York JFK – reduced from 42 to 39 weekly
Orlando – increased from 7 to 10 weekly
Tel Aviv – reduced from 2 to 1 daily
Manchester – Bridgetown increased from 3 to 5 weekly from mid December

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How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (June 2022)

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You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

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Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

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American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

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(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (32)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Aliks says:

    Last month we took advantage of reward flight availability Edinburgh to Barbados using our newly earned virgin upgrade vouchers to get a great deal on Upper Class flights for next January. This meant flying from London up to Edinburgh, but that isn’t such a hardship given the saving.

    Virgin cancelled a few days ago, rebooking us onto Manchester – Barbados, but a quick call (OK 70 minutes in queue at 7am) persuaded them to rebook us onto the LHR flights – great result!

    And we get into the fabled lounge at T3 although it won’t be such fun at 8am. . . .

    • Degsy says:

      It’ll be 12:00 somewhere, and it’d be rude not to make the most of it….

  • Barry cutters says:

    Would be nice if they could actually release some reward seats on these (or any) route

    • SammyJ says:

      My thoughts exactly. Even with the ridiculously increased surcharges!

    • VSCXfan says:

      Managed to get 1 Reward seat in Upper LHR-IAD and IAD-LHR last week, but it took months of Seat Spy alerts and someone cancelling at the last minute to avoid returning via JFK-MAN (+ BA MAN-LHR).

      Both on-time flights and LHR & IAD lounges were as good as ever.

  • Froggee says:

    Having been delighted to get the Barbados flights from Edinburgh, I’m totally gutted. My wife is of the view that adding on four hours each way from Edinburgh would turn it from a fun half-term trip to a big hassle and I’m inclined to agree. No way would we be travelling down in the morning which would mean another day of school missed. I’ll sit on it for a bit as I really fancied Barbados.

    You win some, you lose some.

  • The real Swiss Tony says:

    Is it true there are no flights from Edinburgh to Manchester anymore? I’d have thought given that, instead they would be sending affected passengers via London?

  • Froggee says:

    I can’t see any EDI-MAN flights. My guess is the issue with re-routing via London is they’d need to pay money to BA for the flights down to London and the bags would need to be interlined (I’m guessing this would add to the amount of money that BA would receive over and above buying a cheap ticket).

    And from our perspective, changing terminals at Heathrow is far from being a bundle of laughs. By the time you add on the time for the EDI-LHR flight and the connection there isn’t much in it. We’d be talking a 6:50am flight from Edinburgh and getting in an hour later than the MAN flight.

    With young kids, we’d do that if necessary e.g. flying to visit family but for a half term break it turns a really sociable leisure flight into an endurance test. I’m thinking it might be the Canaries instead. But Canaries = low cost carrier which is almost five hours of discomfort and means we’d be locked into the flights. The great thing about our Barbados arrangements is that the flights were cancellable for £30 each and the hotel was also refundable.

    I don’t blame Virgin for pulling the plug on the Edinburgh route as it clearly wasn’t commercial. It’s just sad. We had flights booked to Orlando with them for March 2020 from Edinburgh in Upper class with cash and they obviously didn’t happen either so I’m starting to think we’re doomed in terms of Virgin out of EDI.

    • Harry T says:

      Just get the train or plane down the night before?

      • The real Swiss Tony says:

        As noted there are no longer flights between Edinburgh and Manchester, and as Froggee says it’s a completely different proposition when you’re expected to do that with kids but thought you were on a nonstop flight from your local airport.

        Then you’ve got the grim prospect of the journey home with a comparatively short overnight flight being followed by the vagaries of UK rail transport on what I suspect will be a Sunday.

  • Sally B says:

    Virgin Atlantic have also announced that they are cancelling their Heathrow-Havana Winter service.

    “We’re disappointed to confirm that due to the unique complexities of Cuban operations, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw our plans for London Heathrow – Havana services. Our services scheduled to commence from 30th October 2022, operating as a Winter-only service until 24 March 2023, will be cancelled.”

    • Rhys says:

      Weird. Still seems bookable online…

      • Jonathan says:

        The route can’t be booked online, even whenever they’re flying there !

      • Sally B says:

        Virgin’s email today mentions “Bookings affected by these changes were updated in your GDS on Saturday 28 May 2022.” The fares that are showing online are all fully flexible fares in anticipation of the cancellation apparently.

  • Andrew says:

    Seriously disappointed with this turn of events. Again.
    My wife and I booked in 2021 for EDI-BGI late March 2022 and that was cancelled. We had separately booked accommodation on Barbados so had to drive from Glasgow to Manchester with the added expense of an overnight there and the annoyance of mad security queues. At least we had a decent holiday but 4 hours drive home instead of a 45 minute taxi took the shine off a bit.
    (I note that Virgin are reimbursing expenses for this latest cancellation when they didn’t give me anything despite Flying club, mega miles and the rest – no way.)
    We were literally just about to book up for this winter only to see this news a few days ago.
    Unfortunately we (a) have two reward flights to use and (b) love Barbados so really have no option but to use VA. Can’t abide going through London under any circumstances so it’ll be Manchester again. However checking reveals even the Manchester flights may be problematic.
    It’s not as if Barbados is unpopular, TUI manage to fill a plane or two from Scotland on a regular basis.
    All this bouncing about makes me wonder what they’re up to.
    Currently looking at Aer Lingus from Manchester for future use.

    • Erico1875 says:

      I don’t think they have promoted this adequately.

      • Erico1875 says:

        If Ryanair can fill a 737, 2 or 3 times a week to destinations such as Santiago, Zadar and Poitiers from Edi, surely, with a bit of effort Virgin could have succeeded with Barbados.

  • pureshtuyot says:

    last week Virgin released a ton of redemption availability to South Africa JNB, in June. contrast with Zero Avios seats on BA.
    Are virgin struggling to put bums on seats?

    • Froggee says:

      I expect so. There was loads of redemption availability for Edinburgh to Barbados and they the axed it because of weak sales.

    • Rhys says:

      Virgin releases redemption seats on an adhoc basis rather than guaranteeing a fixed amount per flight like BA does.

      June is also the low season for flights to South Africa. Peak times are in the winter/over Christmas.

      • pureshtuyot says:

        Yet with BA there’s not a single reward seat to be had to JNB or CPT for May June, seems like they’re full despite low season

        • JDB says:

          Actually the BA Club availability to CPT has been surprising good. My wife just rebooked for us in April/May well inside the T-355 and there are still Club seats available for at least half the days in the second half of April and returns in early May. It may technically be the off season, but it’s still a great time to be there, including the protea season.

        • ChrisC says:

          Half of May and all of June aren’t even on sale yet so of course there are non available!

          What ever the time of year it’s a popular route and people are in there booking right on the moment when BA release seats at T-355

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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